Aston Villa 1:4 Leicester City
City set a new club record of eight consecutive top flight victories with a 4-1 win at Aston Villa on Sunday…
Brendan Rodgers made three changes to his starting line-up, with Chilwell, Iheanacho, and Praet in for Fuchs, Pérez and Barnes. This made for a different formation with two up front and a midfield diamond.
After a minute’s applause for former Villa boss Ron Saunders, whose death was announced the day before, there was a lively start to the game.
City first chance came in the 4th minute when Iheanacho cut in from the right and slipped Maddison in on goal, but his shot was blocked by Konsa. The rebound fell for Iheanacho, who chipped a ball to Vardy at the far post but his weak first time effort went straight at Heaton.
Villa then did some attacking and won a couple of corners as heavy rain suddenly lashed Villa Park.
City went close in the 10th minute when Söyüncü set up Evans with a chance but he sent it too close to Heaton from short range. Villa should have taken the lead two minutes later. Targett delivered a low cross from the right and it evaded everyone in a crowded goalmouth, running through to El Gahzi, who somehow managed to hit the bar from six yards.
Mings then went down with what looked to be a hamstring problem, but carried on after treatment. That may not have been a great decision as he was behind the play when City took a 20th minute lead. Iheanacho and Vardy raced forward on the break, the former sending the latter through the middle, and he rounded Heaton, but then miscued his finish, barely touching the ball. Fortunately Konsa had slipped over while running back to cover, allowing Vardy to take his second chance.
Mings then had to concede defeat to his hamstring and was replaced by Engels.
Villa went close when El Ghazi got his head to a Targett free-kick, but he sent the ball narrowly over the bar.
But City were on top, with the midfield stifling the threat of Grealish, and the twin strikers causing the Villa defence problems. They broke forward again in the 32nd minute but Vardy’s ball from the right to an unmarked Iheanacho was intercepted by Engels.
City doubled their lead four minutes before the break. Tielemans sent Maddison in down the left and his low cross was turned in with a fantastic touch from Iheanacho at the near post.
But City were to lose their two-goal cushion in first half injury time. They failed to clear a corner properly and the ball eventually fell for Grealish who curled a shot in off the right hand post to give Villa some hope.
But it didn’t last long as City restored their two goal lead four minutes into the second half. Maddison delivered a corner from the left and Evans, who had darted away from his marker, met it with a beautiful header that sailed into the top left hand corner.
Villa had little to offer but fouls after that and Targett was lucky to escape a red card for a nasty challenge on Ricardo.
Rodgers made his first change in the 64th minute, with Barnes on for the reborn Iheanacho.
City then wasted a few good chances with off-target efforts from Maddison, Tielemans and Barnes, who really should have scored when unmarked 15 yards out but snatched his effort over the bar.
But the fourth goal arrived in the 75th minute. From a Villa corner City broke up field and a perfect ball from Praet send Vardy charging down the middle, beating Heaton with a low drive.
Following his splendid assist Praet was replaced by Albrighton.
It was almost 5-1 in the 79th minute when Maddison sent a free-kick over and Söyüncü met it with a thumping header from close range, which Heaton saved with his nose.
Justin then replaced Chilwell for the final ten minutes.
As Villa sought to reduce City’s lead El Ghazi sent a decent chance wide, before both McGinn and Grealish went sprawling in the area under minimal contact. Appeals were laughed out of court in both cases.
It was a fantastic performance from City, solid at the back, commanding in midfield and lethal up front, and not for the first time this season they made history. Eight consecutive top flight wins saw them beat the club record set in 1962-63.
They were now six points clear of Manchester City in third place, and only eight points behind a Liverpool side that have only dropped two points all season.
Brendan Rodgers was happy to be under the radar: “After Manchester United won at Manchester City, a caption came up after the game about how far Manchester City are away from Liverpool. We respect that and we just get on with our job, get on with trying to play and improve our performance levels. It’s just natural – Manchester City and Liverpool are both incredible teams in the league and have shown last year how good they were. For us, we know that we are constantly trying to improve and look to close the gap. But I thought today we looked like a top team.”
Aston Villa: Heaton, El Mohamady, Konsa, Mings (Engels 23), Targett (Guilbert 78), Nakamba (Trézéguet 59), El Ghazi, McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Grealish, Wesley.
Substitutes: Lansbury, Hourihane, Nyland, Kodjia.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell (Justin 80), Ndidi, Praet (Albrighton 76), Tielemans, Maddison, Vardy, Iheanacho (Barnes 64).
Substitutes: Justin, Morgan, Gray, Ward, Pérez.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 41,908.
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